By Sam SutherlandHeadquarters: Winnipeg, MB Date of Birth: 1997 Best Seller: Propagandhi Where Quantity Is Job #1 Upcoming Releases: Hiretsukan Invasive / Exotic, Take Penicillin Now compilation, Propagandhi full-length Online:www.g7welcomingcommittee.com
Balancing uncompromising politics with a biting sense of humour, G7 Welcoming Committee is a label whose releases span nations and genres. Swedish melodic punks Randy share space with the lectures of American intellectual Noam Chomsky, while home-grown talent includes the brutal Malefaction and the early career of the decidedly not-brutal Weakerthans. Founded by Propagandhi members Chris Hannah and Jord Samolesky with their friend Regal, the label has survived eight years in the unforgiving landscape of the Canadian music industry. Now staffed by Chris, Jord, and Derek Hogue, it continues to function under the principals of Participatory Economics and a collective structure, resisting buying into the very machine it comes so close to being part of every day.
Fight The State Records! Derek Hogue: "It was important to have a name that not only indicated the political bent we were coming from, but one that showed some sense of humour, as opposed to something really ham-fisted like Fight The State Records. The ideas that are reflected in our bands and the CDs we put out and distribute are very serious, but you have to be able to recognise the inherent farcical nature of their existence. You can only be so serious with something as frivolous and unnecessary as a record label."
Floating Things Through "What makes us unique is that we do not care about the commerce side of things. We're terrible at it. We don't break even very often. At various times we've had to put our own money in, but we have some successes that really help us float things through. We do what we can, and we work as hard as we can for our bands, but we find the music industry inherently distasteful and crass. The music industry is just a microcosm of everything else. It's another aspect of society that is entirely affected by the ideology of capitalism."
Fair Trade "You have to make pretty conscious decisions in terms of what you're willing to trade off. We are throwing into the world these non-biodegradable, toxic petrochemical products. And there are decisions like, ‘Where are we going to source our stuff from, who is going to distribute it, who are we going to advertise with?' We've really tried hard when it comes to t-shirts to use organic cotton manufacturers, but you need to have a lot of money to get orders from these people. It's hard, but we think it's important."
Building An Alternative "There are four or five distributors in Canada who are entirely independent and can do a really great job, and people are still going to the majors. It's harder in the States, where all the big indie distributors are owned by a major. But if you're in Canada and can have your pick, why would you pick the major? If people want to stay independent, they can, and if they tell you otherwise, they're full of shit. Build the alternative. Don't sell it out because you're too fucking lazy to do it yourself."
It is true. You are an idiot. "A lot of people would say it's unwise to take out a $3,000 ad in Exclaim! that advertises none of your releases and says nothing about the bands on your label. But why is every ad a band shot with your cover image, tour dates, ‘Buy This Here,' and quotes from magazines? It's like a mall. Everyone has the same formula because they think if they veer from it they're screwed."
Washroom Duty "There's no one that's ever working here who doesn't have a greater hand in how things are run and how decisions are made. Depending on who's around and how busy we are, between two and five people work for the label. We all have different skills, but we try to have everyone sharing those skills. The general balance is making sure every person has an equal share of creative work, as well as the mind-numbing, menial stuff."
Knowing Your Limits "We have a limited scope of influence. Obviously we're not doing this solely as a basis for political action. If that was all we wanted to do, then the last thing we would do is run a record label. But I think for everyone here music played an important role in radicalising us politically, and because of that we have a connection to it and we want to see that happen with other people."